The prostate gland is a male organ that produces a secretion that is secreted into the urethra during ejaculation and then mixes with the sperm. The secretion of the prostate gland ultimately makes up about 30% of the ejaculate. The prostate lies under the bladder and surrounds the urethra.
Directly behind it is the rectum (the rectum). A simple method of examining the prostate is the so-called digital (from Latin: digitus – finger) rectal (via the rectum) examination (DRU). This allows the doctor to palpate the prostate and check its size and consistency. As part of cancer prevention, the prostate can be examined regularly from the age of 45. If images of the prostate are required, an MRI of the prostate is recommended.
When and why is a digital rectal examination of the prostate performed? The aim of this examination is, on the one hand, the early detection of prostate cancer – the most common cancer in men, as well as the assessment of an increase in size in the context of benign growth (benign prostate hyperplasia), and on the other hand, the assessment of the rectal mucosa to detect rectal cancer. In women, the rectal examination serves to assess the back of the uterus and the space between the uterus and the rectum, the so-called Douglas space.
The prostate is an organ that works under the influence of testosterone. The sex hormone stimulates the 30 to 50 individual glands of the prostate to produce the prostate secretion. Among other things, this secretion contains enzymes that are important for the motility and fertility of sperm.
Particularly in older men, excessive growth of the prostate gland is relatively common. If this growth is benign, we speak of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Since the enlarged gland then often presses on the urethra that surrounds it, it can lead to urinary diversion problems.
The enlargement of the prostate is then often noticed by problems with urination (dribbling, frequent urge to urinate). A prostate carcinoma is a malignant growth. This means that the prostate tissue can grow into the surrounding tissue and is often of hard and irregular consistency. Most carcinomas of the prostate develop in the outer zone, which means that once they reach a certain size, they can be palpated from the rectum. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men with an average age of 69 years.
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